Is laughter the best medicine? I invite you to sit back and enjoy a great story by my guest Heidi Esther.
I looked up as I lay there. Robin’s-egg blue filled the gaps between feathery evergreen branches. The branches rocked back and forth like a rowboat knocking the pier on a languid day. Sunlight filtered down to me as through a fine muslin curtain. The best day for yoga. I took a long, full-body stretch. My knees, neck, back, and, what was that?, my elbow cracked in delight.
Free summer yoga at the park. Every week is a new instructor, which keeps my muscles guessing. And it’s better than sitting around and beating myself up about getting fired. Just me, my mat, and the trees. And about sixty other people. No matter, I inhaled the evergreen scent, and that’s when everything changed.
“Okay friends! We’re gonna start. My name is Emma, I can’t wait to practice with you today! I’m so excited!” Her voice was like popcorn.
I sat straight up and my gaze fixed on a young sprite of a woman. Twinkling eyes, Annie-hair, and a wide Julia-Roberts smile. This woman has ringmaster or stand-up-comedian energy, not yoga-instructor energy. Oh no, is this cardio-boxing? My post-children body is not made for high-impact cardio.
Emma bubbled, “today, we’re doing a special kind of yoga, laughter yoga. I promise it will get you a cardio workout in a fraction of the time compared to a standard yoga practice. Plus, it’s super fun!” Emma’s sweeping gestures could keep the attention of any overtired toddler. “And, yes, it’s not traditional yoga, other than the laying down part at the end. So, if you only want to do regular yoga, you’ll have to come back next week. Everyone else, stand up, and let’s form a circle.”
About half of the people scowled, picked up their mats, and left. Should I stay or go home to work on my resume? I paused. I locked concerned eyes with some neighbors. It’s laughter. How hard could it be? I joined the circle.
“Okay, friends! We’re going to do some exercises to get you laughing. If you don’t think it’s funny, just fake it. Your body will still enjoy the many benefits of laughter. First, we’re going to make some giggle soup.” I scan the circle. This could be embarrassing. At least I don’t know anyone…
“Now, everyone get out your knives, and let’s chop some vegetables…”
We all start air-chopping vegetables. Hmmm, is this what preschool feels like?
“…then let’s pour in some water and shake in some salt and pepper. Now comes the best part: the giggle juice!”
Emma air-mimes the pouring, the shaking, and putting in a couple drops of a secret bottle from her pocket. She is good at this.
“Now, we’re going to stir it, taste it, and….” Emma rolled her fake spoon around like a witch with her brew and made a slurping noise. Giggles came out of her like overflowing milk bubbles. I could not contain myself.
“Hahahaha!!!” erupted my first laugh.
Laughter caught on like wildfire. In less than a blink, we were fake throwing each other giggle soup and adding in belly laugh peppers. After what seemed like a long time to my stomach muscles, Emma started clapping and shouting a cheer. “Very good. Very good. Yea!” We all chimed in soon after.
“What a great start! Let’s take a break and do some calming breaths before we continue.” She wasn’t kidding about the workout part.
Next, we became pretend roller coasters, Santa Claus, penguins walking, and exchanged laughter greetings. With, of course, cheers and breathing breaks.
Twenty minutes later, I lay on the ground like a dead fish, looking up at the sky through the feathery branches. Five minutes later, we were all done laughing. Who would have thought it would be so hard to stop laughing? I drove home in a cloud of happy.
The next day, my body recovered, but I still felt different. I felt like I was riding around in Wonder Woman’s invisible plane. It shielded me and brought me the gift of flight. A light, airy, shield. Like, no matter what happened, no matter how I felt today, no matter when I found a job, I was gonna be okay.
One week later, I was still riding around in Wonder Woman’s plane.
Heidi has the gift of writing for sure! Don’t you just feel like you were there with her?
Heidi Esther is a storyteller, writer, poet, big-feeler, momma, and spoiler of all dogs, especially her chestnut-eyed Olive.
I met Heidi through a blogging program we are both part of. We connected and now we support each other as we reach out with our words to teach, encourage, entertain and support our readers.
On her blog, Heidi walks with moms to discover their true selves and put more joy in their overly-busy lives. I encourage you to go check it out.
Heidi Esther sends a weekly funny, relatable story, poem, and reflection.
PLUS, when you sign up, you get her Brand New Joy Guide!
The Joy Guide is simple exercises to get you to joy, no matter what kind of time you have!
If you want to
Did the laughter yoga sound like fun? You can check out the buoyant Emma Klues at HTTP://EmmaKlues.com
I leave you with one of Heidi’s poems.
The Best Medicine
do you wear,
do you shade,
you are here,
you will free,
If you take
Peace be with you,